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‘Martin Luther King, Jr.’ Category

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

This Button Could Be Yours

Button

At We Marched With Martin this past weekend in Washington, D.C. these buttons, replicas of the one Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wore as he spoke at the 1963 March on Washington, were handed out. You can get one of your own by sending us a note here.

Martin

Monday, October 17th, 2011

VIDEO: We Marched With Martin

Here is the unedited video of “We Marched With Martin,” a discussion featuring Drum Major Institute Chairman and Why Tuesday? founder William Wachtel, Ambassador Andrew Young, Congressman John Dingell and Senator Harris Wofford, veterans of the civil rights movement. The event was hosted by our friends and colleagues at The Drum Major Institute.

Following the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Senator Wofford and Representative Dingell joined Ambassador Young for what can only be described as an incredible conversation about their work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, and the Occupy Wall Street protests today.

See photos of the event here.

UPDATE: Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press has written a column about the event. Here’s a bit:

After Sunday’s dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., two old lions appeared at the nearby Newseum to talk of old times and important moments they experienced during the civil rights movement.

U.S. Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, the dean of Congress, and Andrew Young, who rose from the movement to become mayor of Atlanta and America’s ambassador to the United Nations, sat alongside former Pennsylvania Sen. Harris Wofford, a civil rights adviser to President John F. Kennedy, in a conversation called “We Marched With Martin,” sponsored by the Drum Major Institute.

Their words reminded that the movement was not spectacle. It was a way of life, one that must continue today.

[snip]

The movement was a revolution that made connected soldiers of strangers. Decades later, Young pushed Dingell for analysis. And Dingell said that all that’s missing now is the spark.

“Very frankly, if you look, you’ll find significant backsliding with regard to what we call civil rights,” he said. “It’s getting harder for some folks to vote, getting harder for some people to move ahead in many important ways. … What we need today is the spark that we saw when Dr. King and others were willing to march and the spark when some of my more conservative friends all of a sudden moved more toward civil rights. They saw dogs turned loose on folks. They saw spraying water cans and fire hoses … they saw them using clubs. If you’ll remember Bull Connor saying, ‘Let those puppies loose,’ and people just said, ‘You know, that’s not right.'”

For the complete column, click here.

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

PHOTOS: We Marched With Martin

Take a look at some photos from today’s very special event in Washington.

Photos of: Drum Major Institute Chairman and Why Tuesday? co-founder William Wachtel, Senator Harris Wofford, Ambassador Andrew Young and his wife Carolyn, Congressman John Dingell, Why Tuesday? Executive Director Jacob Soboroff, and unsung Civil Rights hero Meshulam Riklis with his wife Tally.

If you have trouble viewing the slide show, check out the photos on Flickr. We’ll be uploading video of the event soon.

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Lewis: There Is Still Work To Do

John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis was beaten in 1965 as he marched for Civil Rights in Selma, Alabama. This week he had a message for Americans as the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial opened in Washington: the struggle for voting rights is far from over. Highlights the Congressman’s New York Times editorial, “A Poll Tax by Another Name,” are below.

Since January, a majority of state legislatures have passed or considered election-law changes that, taken together, constitute the most concerted effort to restrict the right to vote since before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

[snip]

Having fought for voting rights as a student, I am especially troubled that these laws disproportionately affect young voters. Students at state universities in Wisconsin cannot vote using their current IDs (because the new law requires the cards to have signatures, which those do not). South Carolina prohibits the use of student IDs altogether. Texas also rejects student IDs, but allows voting by those who have a license to carry a concealed handgun. These schemes are clearly crafted to affect not just how we vote, but who votes.

Conservative proponents have argued for photo ID mandates by claiming that widespread voter impersonation exists in America, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. While defending its photo ID law before the Supreme Court, Indiana was unable to cite a single instance of actual voter impersonation at any point in its history. Likewise, in Kansas, there were far more reports of U.F.O. sightings than allegations of voter fraud in the past decade. These theories of systematic fraud are really unfounded fears being exploited to threaten the franchise.

In Georgia, Florida, Ohio and other states, legislatures have significantly reduced opportunities to cast ballots before Election Day — an option that was disproportionately used by African-American voters in 2008. In this case the justification is often fiscal: Republicans in North Carolina attempted to eliminate early voting, claiming it would save money. Fortunately, the effort failed after the State Election Board demonstrated that cuts to early voting would actually be more expensive because new election precincts and additional voting machines would be required to handle the surge of voters on Election Day.

Voters in other states weren’t so lucky. Florida has cut its early voting period by half, from 96 mandated hours over 14 days to a minimum of 48 hours over just eight days, and has severely restricted voter registration drives, prompting the venerable League of Women Voters to cease registering voters in the state altogether. Again, this affects very specific types of voters: according to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice, African-Americans and Latinos were more than twice as likely as white voters to register through a voter registration drive.

These restrictions purportedly apply to all citizens equally. In reality, we know that they will disproportionately burden African Americans and other racial minorities, yet again. They are poll taxes by another name, similar to estate taxes or vehicles taxes as the IPVA 2018.

Hurricane Irene postponed the dedication ceremony for the memorial, but it hasn’t stopped our commitment to continuing the work started by Dr. King, Congressman Lewis, our co-founder Ambassador Andrew Young and others decades ago. For Congressman Lewis’ complete editorial, click here.

Photo of Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, Reverend Jesse Douglas, James Forman and Ralph Abernathy via History Channel.

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

In Father’s Memory, MLK III Asks “Why Tuesday?”

MLK III At Riverside Church

Forty three years ago last week Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Our group was literally founded to honor and further the work Dr. King and others undertook to ensure passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, because nearly half a century after that law’s enactment, America ranks near the bottom of all nations in voter participation.

Dr. King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III, is a member of our advisory board and continues to fight for Dr. King’s principles to this day through his work as the chief executive officer of the King Center and vice chair-designate of the Drum Major Institute.

Martin Luther King III penned this blog post for the Huffington Post last week answering the question “What Would Dr. King Do Today?” and the first question he asks is about why we vote on Tuesday.

This week marks the anniversary of my father’s death. Many Americans observe this occasion by looking back at the ideals he fought for and gave his life to advance. I believe we should mark it by looking forward to how much further we can advance those ideals in our own lifetimes.

There is no doubt that America, and in fact the world, are better today in so many ways, thanks in part to our progress in living up to those ideals. We are witnessing peoples across the world throwing off repressive regimes, inspired both by Dr. Martin Luther King’s teachings of non-violent social change and the momentous step America itself took in overcoming our own history by electing a president who once could not even have voted in some of the states he carried. These developments are testament to the power of both my father’s principles, and America’s.

But while we can take well-earned satisfaction in how far we have come, there is still further we can go. In this period between another anniversary of my father’s passing and the anniversary this summer of the March on Washington and the unveiling of the Martin Luther King, Jr., national memorial, we at the King Center in Atlanta and its affiliated policy organization, the Drum Major Institute here in New York City, are launching a national effort asking Americans to consider the following questions:

Have we removed all government-imposed barriers and inequities? While Americans have differing views on the role of government, we all recognize that everyone should be allowed to participate equally in that government, and that equal access to the ballot box is the foundation of all our freedoms. Yet governments across the country still impose requirements that effectively limit many Americans’ ability to vote: The outdated practice of holding elections in the middle of the work week — which stems from an agricultural era — cuts down the ability of many Americans to exercise their franchise. Some jurisdictions exacerbate this problem by closing the polls at an hour that most working people are just getting home from their jobs — if they’re fortunate to work only one. Some politicians are now talking of erecting additional hurdles. With one of the lowest rates of voter participation in the world, shouldn’t America today be promoting voting rather than hindering it?

To read Martin Luther King III’s entire blog post, click here. For more about Why Tuesday? and our mission, click here.

Photo of Martin Luther King III at Riverside Church in NYC via Lindsay Beyerstein on Flickr.

Monday, January 17th, 2011

That Short Walk To The Voting Booth

As our co-founder Ambassador Andrew Young reminded us recently, nearly half a century after the Voting Rights Act, American voter turnout is worse than most nations. In the spirit of Dr. King, Ambassador Young’s friend and colleague, we’re working to spark a national discussion about voting.

Our nation is again in need of national reforms which will result in an America where voting is not just a right but also a democratic imperative. As we remember Dr. King for his service and sacrifice, let us not forget the emphasis Dr. King placed on “that short walk to the voting booth.”

On the occasion of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we again, as we have the last three years, bring you his August 28, 1963 speech at the March on Washington in its entirety.

Wonder why MLK Day is today and not on Dr. King’s actual birthday? Here’s the answer.

About Us

Why Tuesday? is a non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2005 to find solutions to increase voter turnout and participation in elections... More

The Answer

In 1845, before Florida, California, and Texas were states or slavery had been abolished, Congress needed to pick a time for Americans to vote... More

Recent Comments

In France they last voted on a Sunday. France is despite the Bourbon legacy a largely Catholic country, yet they vote on Sunday...

Posted by Patrick on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

I think weekend voting would make the most sense, as people wouldn't have tu run home after work or wake up early to hit the polling stations beforehand.

Posted by Zander on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

Sunday would be inconvenient for Christians. We should, 1. Move the voting day to Saturday. 2...

Posted by John on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?